Beauty Reviews

Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Sticks Trio Review

June 22, 2016

Some call contouring a trend, makeup artists having been using it for decades, either way, all the contour and highlighting hype is not going to die down anytime soon. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the technique and I truly feel like a different person after I contour my face. The purpose of contouring is to add depth and dimension to your face…to play up your best features and change the appearance of the ones you’re not so crazy about. Essentially, it’s a non-invasive way to manipulate and sculpt your face shape. Who doesn’t want that? Sign. Me. Up.

One of the most natural ways to contour is with cream products. However, they can be pretty intimidating because placement can be a struggle and many of them are dry and difficult to blend. So when I heard of the Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Trio Sticks (, $45), I had to try them out. They’re designed to mimic perfect lighting by combining all 3 shades: Contour, Highlight, and Bronze. The idea is to draw it on and blend it out, and it really is that simple. The formula is just thick enough to add depth and bring light to the face, without looking heavy or cakey. I can’t stress enough how effortless they blend onto the skin. And because they’re in stick form, you can achieve a more targeted and precise application.

NOTE: In the picture above, I opted to go for a more soft contour and highlight. Also, I am not wearing anything over the contour sticks except for a little translucent powder to set them in place. Typically, I always add a powder contour or bronze over cream products.

What you get:



  1. 3 Contour Sticks: Contour, Highlight, and Bronze (0.12 oz each)
  2. Sharpener
  3. A ‘How-to’ insert that lays out how to use the sticks based on your face shape


A soft yellow-toned shade that brightens up the face and pulls features forward.


Where to apply:

  • Middle of forehead
  • Bridge of nose
  • Under the eyes in a triangle shape
  • Chin


Cool darker brown that sculpts features by creating shadows on the face.


Where to apply:

  • Along hairline to give the illusion of a smaller forehead
  • Sides of nose
  • Temples
  • Hollow of the cheeks, under the cheekbone
  • Along jawline to square off chin and give the illusion of a round face shape


Warmer mid-tone brown shade that is meant to be used as a transition shade that blends the contour and highlight shades together and eliminates harsh lines.



Where to apply:

  • Above contour shade on cheekbones
  • Can also be applied along hairline under the contour shade to add a little warmth



Application tip: I highly recommend using a Beauty Blender or Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge to blend them out.A makeup sponge is hands down my favorite tool for blending out liquid or cream products. It gives the most natural finish and gets the job done very quickly. A makeup sponge is hands down my favorite tool for blending out liquid or cream products (especially these sticks!).


  • Perfect shades for light to medium skin tone
  • Ultra blendable – a dream to blend!
  • Precise application
  • Longlasting (lasts 8-9 hours)
  • Convenient for traveling
  • Great for beginners
  • Comes with a sharpener, so convenient since sometimes with thick pencils its hard to find the right size
  • Same shades as the Step-By-Step Powder Contour Kit, so it can be used together for a more intense contour


  • Trio is only suitable those with light to medium skin tone (need trios for tan and dark complexions)
  • It’s on the more pricey side, but arguably most contour kits are around the same price unless you are buying drugstore brands
  • If you’re not a fan of products you have to sharpen (however, you really don’t waste a lot of product when you do, promise.)

What’s the bottom line?

I highly recommend them. They have easily become my favorite cream contour products because they could not be easier to apply and blend out. And fortunately, the shades work really well with my light/medium skin tone. Hopefully, like the powder contour kit, Smashbox will come out with darker shades. Fingers crossed!

Has any of you tried these sticks? What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.  xo Sarah

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